Posts Tagged ‘executive coaching’

Breakdown Breakthrough

Every breakdown is a great opportunity for coaching and for a breakthrough.  Coaching leaders see it that way.  So certainly, every time there is a breakdown there is an opportunity for coaching.  Remember, “time and place.”  Pick the right time and right place to coach around the breakdown.  As an old saying goes, “In your greatest challenges, come your greatest opportunities.” Always see breakdowns as an opportunity for coaching and a breakthrough.

A breakthrough can be one of those “ah ha!” moments where you see the light bulb go on.  Your coachee is suddenly and permanently altered in a good way; they have a new perspective or a new way of relating to someone or something.

It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect

I can’t emphasize this enough!  Do not wait to start coaching until you think you know how to do it “just right.”  Trust the coaching process.  Your early attempts at coaching will surprise you in their effectiveness.  As successful business leaders your inclination will be to avoid being an unskilled novice.  Fight that inclination!  The only road to mastery is through the rocky roads of new skill building.  Every coaching interaction will be building your experience, competence and confidence.

Considering hiring a coach to “coach the coach.”  That’s me!  Set up structures within your company so that you can have others be a second set of eyes and ears for you regarding how your coaching conversations went.  Make some notes, practice being a detached observer, and you will get a sense of how you did in coaching.

In coaching school, we do three-way coaching.  So you could even have a colleague sit in while you are coaching, or you could have a peer or even a teammate give you feedback about your coaching.  The bottom line is, the only way you are going to become an effective coaching leader is to practice.

Coaching Pitfall – Toxic Culture

Similar to overemphasis on money, in these organizations there are a variety of other, either historical or environmental issues, that have the place so sick that the coaching has no room to breathe, get integrity or take hold.  These toxic cultures take on many different forms and usually are a result of toxic leaders. Examples of toxic cultures are where there may be addiction, abuse, dishonesty or epic political struggles.  If you have a toxic culture, coaching is not going to take hold.

Coaching Pitfall – Overemphasis on Money

Some organizations talk about wanting to grow and develop people, but at the end of the day, all of the decisions seem to be made relative to finances and shareholder value.  If we go back to the trust issue that we talked about early on, if people do not trust you they are not going to allow you to coach them. 

When a company puts too much emphasis on finances, the coaching never feels genuine or takes hold.

Coaching Pitfall – Keeping Poor Performers

One of the cultural contexts of our country is loyalty and fairness.  Both of these are wonderful qualities, but as we get into the ultra competitive world we are in today, we may not have the luxury of keeping poor performers.

This person has been with the CEO from the very early stages of the company, they are now one of our most long-term and loyal employees, but for any number of reasons their skill set and ability has not kept up with the complexity of the company or the competitive market. The company has tried to coach the person. They may have even tried reassignment, but this person is not able to perform at a level that is required today.  It is time to manage this person out of the business.

Deliberate Practice – Reflection


Shut off all of your electronics and take some time to REFLECT on what you have accomplished in 2011 and set some goals for 2012.  Really reflect on what you did well and where you have room for improvement.  Don’t take the easy way out and say that you did everything well in 2011 and there is nothing that you should work on in 2012.  You and I both know that would be a LIE!!!  Is that really how you want to start out the new year? If you really want to challenge yourself, go a step further and ask a co-worker, friend or mentor to hold you accountable on what you have committed to for 2012.

Coaching Pitfall – Skill vs. Commitment

You can see someone who has a lot of commitment, but does not have the skill.  In coaching this is one of our common diagnostic tools.  Do I think this person really wants to do this or do they have the skill?  Do not confuse the two.  Furthermore, is the person able to develop the skill?  So if you decide they do have commitment, they just do not have the skill, remember some people are not able to develop certain skills.

  • Posted by Coach Pete
  • Wednesday, November 30th, 2011
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Deliberate Practice – Talk to Key Employees


Here’s some highlight film from this week working with executives all over the country. I work with a construction company in Texas and they have a deliberate practice of annual performance reviews. They also ask for feedback from employees. A longtime employee made comments about trusting the company that were a bit upsetting. The CEO went out and saw the employee to discuss his feedback. The employee said, “I can’t tell you what a difference this has made to me that you talked to me about it.”  They  talked it through and ironed out the issue.

You know this employee is going to be even more committed, more focused and will produce a higher level of results. CEOs and leaders sometimes are reluctant, they’re busy or they just don’t get out to talk or connect with their key employees – so that is your deliberate practice for this week!

Ask yourself – How often am I connecting with and having heartfelt discussions with some of my key employees?

It will make a big difference and needs to be one of your top deliberate practices. Email me at and let me know if you have taken the time to connect with your leaders and what kind of results you got.

Mehmet + Instanbul = Amazing!

Executive coaching is about helping business leaders see from a different perspective.  It reminds me a little bit of my tour guide Mehmet last month in Istanbul.

We were walking along the gardens between Topkapi Palacein the Blue Mosque and Mehmet told me to stop and turn around.  We had the most spectacular view of historic Istanbul overlooking the Bosphorus Strait.

It reminded me a little bit of the coaching journey I take with executives and family businessowners.  Like Mehmet I have been on many tours and usually know just the right place to ask people to stop and take a look.  Without him I would’ve walked right by that spot and missed an important vantage point.

I know it’s human nature to think we can figure it out ourselves, and many times we can.  But having Mehmet along made the process go simpler, quicker and more enjoyable.  I could have wandered around and seen many sites, but his expertise made the journey so much more fruitful.

And again like coaching, he turned me back out on my own in the city the second day but because of his guidance and experience, I was able to navigate with more confidence and ease.

I think I’m a tour guide for helping executives and family businesses have a more profitable and enjoyable journey.

 Thanks Mehmet!

Reviewing the game film real-life lessons from the leadership “field”

While coaching an executive in Wisconsin I interviewed his boss to get his feedback as part of the executive coaching process.  In the conversation, the boss tells me a pretty significant piece of feedback about  a behavioral tendency that’s negatively impacting the executive’s performance.

I asked (call me old-fashioned),” have you given him that feedback?”

The boss responds, “I guess not directly.  More in an OBLIQUE way.”

I ask (stealth coaching), “have you considered giving them that feedback not in an oblique way?”

The boss said, “yeah I guess I should do that.”

Here’s the real question.  Why do we have such a hard time saying things straight to people?  Why do we make it so much more difficult than it has to be?  Why can’t leaders simply give performance feedback in a way that is productive and healthy?

Stop giving people oblique feedback and start giving them direct feedback!

In my book “Coach to Win the Leadership Game” I outline why coaching is such a great leadership style that actually sets leaders up beautifully to give straight feedback to their team members.

When you have a coaching culture, people expect straight feedback so that they can improve their business results.

My friend says that most leaders aren’t great at giving feedback in a way that can be used to improve performance.  I was almost shocked to hear this senior executive of a highly successful company openly saying that he was giving oblique feedback.

 Stop it.

  • Posted by Coach Pete
  • Thursday, January 20th, 2011
  • Comments Off on Reviewing the game film real-life lessons from the leadership “field”